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Rory McIlroy is testing a new club ahead of the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews. Conditions are set to be firm and fast with emphasis of staying clear of the penal fairway bunkers so the four-time Major champion has been putting the new TaylorMade Stealth UDI 2 iron to the test. In the end, McIlroy did eventually put the club in play for round one and shot an opening round of 66. It has 16 degrees of loft, a lie angle of 59.75° and a Project X HZRDUS 65 105 shaft.
As expected, the 2-iron offers a significantly different trajectory to that of his TaylorMade Stealth Plus 5 wood. The Northern Irishman could therefore adopt the more "stinger" type shot to keep the ball under the wind whilst maximising ground distance and giving him the ability to shape shots more easily. In practice, McIlroy was seen carrying the UDI a little over 250 yards.
With the links nature of St Andrews, the change is likely to be temporary with the TaylorMade Stealth Plus 5 wood returning to his usual setup once the tournament has concluded. Rory also has a new TaylorMade MG3 low bounce 60° lob wedge in the bag at The Open
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The 33-year-old has not won a Major title since 2014 but arrives at St Andrews in fine form having contended in each of the three Majors this year. He opened with a second place finish at Augusta National before finishing 8th at the PGA Championship and T5 at the US Open. The Northern Irishman also claimed the Canadian Open title just a few short weeks ago.
This is a run of form which has left the World No.2 pleased with the state of his game as well as his mindset: "I'm happy where everything’s at, and I just can’t get ahead of myself. Just have to make sure that I prepare well the next couple of days and get myself in the right frame of mind for Thursday.
“There’s not a whole lot of new information out there on the golf course. I haven’t felt like I’ve needed to do anything. I’ve just sort of been in a really decent state of mind and happy with where everything is.
“I think that sort of confidence and contentment in my game, it’s a nice way to lead into a major. To hear your name (announced) as winner of the gold medal, Champion Golfer of the Year, it’s what dreams are made of. I still remember that pretty vividly. I’d love to replicate that on Sunday evening.”
McIlroy came agonisingly close to making history at the 2010 Open Championship at St Andrews when he opened with a 63 (-9), tying the then-Major championship record it what was only the eighth in Open history and the 22nd in Major championship golf.
James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.
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